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Nathan Goodale
Nathan Goodale

Film, Research Presented at Archaeology Society Meeting

Posted May 2, 2010
Tags Anthropology
Assistant Professor of Anthropology Nathan Goodale, Science Center Administrator Alissa Nauman and students Erica Kowsz ’11, Madeleine Gunter ’11 and Laura DeFrank ’10 presented their work at the 75th anniversary meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in April in St. Louis, Mo. 

Silent Stones of Inishark: Memories, Archaeology, and Landscape, a film by Kowsz, Goodale and co-filmmakers Kieran Concannon of Galway County, Ireland, and Dr. Ian Kuijt of the University of Notre Dame, was among the films featured during the meeting’s 7.5 Film Festival. Kowsz served as lead producer of the film which documents the memories of former residents of Inishark, an island off the west central coast of Ireland. Due to the hardships of months of storm-bound isolation, the last 24 members of the Inishark community were evacuated from the island in 1960. Through their involvement with the Cultural Landscapes of the Irish Coast (CLIC) project, a joint project between Hamilton and Notre Dame, Goodale, Nauman and principal pnvestigator Kuijt brought three former residents back to Inishark to lend a voice to the past. Silent Stones of Inishark documents the link between their story, the physical landscape and the archeological remains. Kowsz’s participation in the project was made possible by a Levitt Fellowship during the summer of 2009. The film will be made available for viewing through the Levitt Center website. 

Goodale and Gunter presented a poster titled Early Medieval Gravestones of the Western Irish Coast: XRF Analysis of Production and Distribution at the meeting. The fieldwork for the study was conducted during the summer of 2009 through the CLIC project. Goodale and Gunter used portable XRF Technology to characterize the elemental signatures of Early Medieval gravestones believed to be reflective of the spread of early Christianity through numerous isolated islands off the coast of western Ireland. Through the CLIC project and a Class of 1966 Career Development Award, Goodale and Gunter will return to these remote islands off the coast of Ireland to obtain further data to best establish the patterns of gravestone production and distribution. 

Goodale, Nauman and DeFrank, along with Tim Kohler of Washington State University, Fumi Arakawa of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Brian Connolly of the University of Pennsylvania presented a study titled A Bayesian Analysis of Projectile Point Variation and the Depopulation of the Northern Southwest. The paper was given in an invited symposium The Village Ecodynamics Project II based on an NSF-funded project of the same name which is a group of archaeologists and computer scientists with a common goal. The larger project goal is to understand one of the biggest mysteries in Southwest U.S. prehistory which is why people abandoned the Mesa Verde Region and where they subsequently ended up moving. 

Goodale, Nauman and DeFrank utilized an index developed by Goodale and colleagues to characterize the bases of notched projectile points and then a Bayesian statistic used by Connolly and his associates allowing network graphs to be built and patterns to be recognized in the overall population. Through the analysis of projectile points from the Central Mesa Verde and the Northern Rio Grande, the paper came to a very preliminary conclusion that the projectile points are very different between the two regions. This suggests that if people moved from Mesa Verde to the Northern Rio Grande they did not continue to make projectile points in the same manner or there was not a direct migration from one region to the other. However, these results are complicated by several aspects and the results are viewed by the authors as being very preliminary in nature. Goodale’s group plans to continue their research by refining their sample as well as adding additional geographic areas to the analysis in order to suggest where people from Mesa Verde moved during the 13th century.

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